Player in the League

And suddenly it’s Saturday.

This is the Saturday of the year where I’d ordinarily be putting Bailey’s in my coffee while a bottle of Prosecco chills in the fridge for my mixed drink of the day, which I would start indulging in around eleven: the Iris. Yes, today would ordinarily be the Iris parade followed by Tucks; Saturday afternoon parades being my favorite, absolutely favorite, since my first time at Mardi Gras back in 1995. I love the ladies of Iris, who are generous with their throws and bury me in beads; I love them so much that the only parade scene I’ve ever written in a novel–Mardi Gras Mambo–is the Iris parade. I have already decided that I am undoubtedly going to write at least two more Scotty books during Mardi Gras–last year’s benighted one, French Quarter Flambeaux, and of course this year’s no parades one, Quarter Quarantine Quadrille. I have ideas for at least two other Scotty books, so be happy, Scotty fans: there will be at least four more Scotty books…the series may even continue in some form or another, but suffice it to say there are plans for four more. Who knows, I may never write another–and the faster time passes, the less likely it seems–but you never know and let’s be honest….I thought the series had ended with Mardi Gras Mambo.

And Bourbon Street Blues was only supposed to be a one-off to begin with.

Man plans, and God laughs, indeed.

It’s forty-two degrees this morning in New Orleans (another blessing, really, that Iris was cancelled); the space heater is on and blowing very warm air on me and it feels quite marvelous. The bed was warm and comfy; I certainly didn’t want to get out from under the cocoon of my many blankets. It’s gray again this morning outside my windows. I have to run some errands and go to the gym later this morning–neither of which I am looking forward to (as Constant Reader knows, I hate nothing more than being outside when it’s cold) but the hope is that I won’t have to go outside again, other than going to the gym, for the next few days. I definitely need to get a lot of work on the book done; may even delve into one of the (ridiculously) many short stories I have in some sort of progress and of course, there’s a lot of cleaning that needs to be done.

We watched the LSU-Florida gymnastics meet last night–the top two ranked teams in the country–and LSU lost by only one-tenth of a point, while not competing at their full strength and an uncharacteristic fall on floor exercise cost them the win. It was very exciting to watch, and I am curious to see how LSU does in the post-season this year. (Last year’s post-season was cancelled, but LSU–after a bad start to their season–were making great strides towards peaking in the post-season.) We also watched this week’s episode of Servant, which just continues to get more and more bizarre as the second season progresses, managing to get even creepier with every episode.

I decided to continue my education in horror films while making condom packs and wound up selecting two terrible movies; the second so bad I couldn’t finish and had to find something else to watch. I am still puzzling over how I managed to sit through the completely laughable Final Exam, with it’s flat stereotyped characters and plot that made no sense–if you’re in finals week, fraternities and sororities no longer have pledges because they are initiated several weeks before finals; the dialogue was laughably bad; and as the movie went on–it seemed much longer than it’s ninety minute run time–the dialogue continued to get worse and worse and the story–such as it was–made even less sense. Given how amateurish the writing, directing, and acting all was–I’ve seen more convincing performances in high school plays–it’s no surprise that everyone in the cast didn’t have much of a career afterwards. I then moved on to Body Count–an Italian production that was somehow even worse than Final Exam, and the racism (it was built around the “oh no turns out the camp was built on an Indian burial ground!” trope; of course it’s the spirit of a shaman killing everyone, and I just couldn’t take it after thirty minutes or so) was so bad I couldn’t take it. Instead, I switched to the 2005 remake of The Fog. I had recently seen the John Carpenter original (speaking of Carpenter, the soundtrack for both Final Exam and Body Count were clearly plagiarized from the Halloween score Carpenter wrote; take my word for it and don’t watch to compare the scores, I beg of you) and thought it would be interesting to see the differences between the original and the remake. Kudos to the remake for casting Smallville’s Superman, the incredibly handsome and well-built Tom Welling, as the lead. It was actually better made than the original….the original was clearly made on a very low budget, and the remake had the advantage of all the advances in visual effects in the decades since. But….Selma Blair, whom I like, just wasn’t as good or compelling as Adrienne Barbeau (who really is irreplaceable), the absence of Jamie Lee Curtis left a void in the center of the film, and the revisions to the plot and story (moving it from California to Oregon; giving more of the back story of the history and why the dead are coming back for vengeance on Antonio Bay) were improvements on the original, as were the visual effects. But it was missing that John Carpenter core somehow, despite Carpenter being a producer; I found myself not necessarily caring about the characters and whether they survived or not. There was also a reincarnation story tacked on for good measure–and while I do love a good reincarnation story (see Lake Thirteen), it just didn’t really seem to work. If you’re a completist and a fan of John Carpenter, it’s worth a look to see how it was done with a bigger budget and more modern technology, but if you’re simply a fan of horror films, it’s probably best for you to just skip it.

I must say, one of the better side effects, though, of this pandemic and having to work at home is this long-neglected education in American film that I’m getting.

I also hope to find some time to spend with Jess Lourey’s Edgar nominated Unspeakable Things over this long weekend, as well as Alabama Noir–which I’d forgotten I had a copy of–and trying to get back into what I call The Short Story Project, in which I read more short stories to improve my education in–and hopefully, my skill at writing–short stories. I was idly paging through some of my Tennessee Williams volumes (yes, I have several volumes of his collected plays) and found several lines (his writing is so poetic) that could work as titles for short stories (I also generally use Williams quotes to open the Scotty books, just as the opening of the prologues is always a parody of a more famous work’s opening), which was kind of fun–I’ve been coming up with rather pulpy titles lately (I came up with one earlier in the week called “I Woke Up in Blood This Morning”–thanks to the Partridge Family wormhole I went down on Youtube recently, and the idle paging through Williams got me another: “I Married a Whore”, which could also be a lot of fun….I was this close to rewatching American Gigolo yesterday, and for the record, there’s a movie that deserves a remake, without the homophobia and with a tighter script; there are any number of beautiful young actors in Hollywood now who could play the part perfectly–Ryan Philippe ten years ago would have been perfect–but Kyle Allen or the guy from Bridgerton…I think Tom Hiddleston is still young enough to play it as well. I just feel that American Gigolo could have been a much better film–and given how excellent it’s production values were (not to mention that AMAZING soundtrack) it’s a shame that it didn’t have a tighter script that focused more on the noir (or Neo-noir, I should say) aspects of the story; especially it’s political aspects and the murder. I enjoyed it when I watched it a few years back, but couldn’t help but see all the unexplored potential that was wasted.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. May your Saturday be all that you deserve, Constant Reader, and I will check in again with you later.

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